In response to “Balancing School With Riding”

First, I would just like to say how brilliant I thought that post was and how relatable I thought it was. Balancing schoolwork with riding is definitely a challenge, this post focus’ a little more on my personal experiences with it and how it eventually led to a different path all together.

Education is important, that much is true. Just as Marina had stated previously, I, too, struggled with finding time for schoolwork and making it out to the barn every day to ride. I attended a private catholic prep school that was very hesitant on allowing me to miss school for riding. As I’m sure most of us did, I would leave regardless and not worry too much about the material I was missing. As time went on and I got more involved in my riding, I was missing full days left and right in order to show my horses; whether it be local or out of state. Needless to say, my school was starting to get very unhappy with me.

My senior year, I made the decision to compete at the entire HITS Ocala series, missing about two months of school. My dad is a pilot for a private company, so I was able to fly back on occasion to take exams, though that did not do much to calm my principals anger. Upon my arrival back, I was informed that I would not be allowed to make up the work I missed and would receive zero’s for them. Needless to say, that dropped all my grades significantly. Thankfully, they were high enough previously to not drop me to a failing grade, and my understanding teachers worked with me so that I could get back to where I had been before I left. I am not embarrassed nor do I regret my decision. To this day, I would still pick Florida over staying at school. The experience gained, in and out of the ring, was incredible. Not to mention, to led to connections with top trainers, including a friendship with Penelope Strait, whom has been good friends, and co-owner of a Grand Prix horse with my trainer for years. I would not trade that for anything.

College was different. The work was overwhelming and forced me to take a break from riding for a semester. Clearly, I was still not good at time management! School never really sparked an interest in me, and being away from my horses was almost unbearable. Once I started making time to go to barn in-between classes, I realized just how much I missed it. After a lot of thinking on my own, the first semester of my sophomore year, I approached my parents about a future in riding. The
idea of being an equestrian as a profession seemed unrealistic in the past, but had always been a thought in the back of my mind. After about a week of talking and planning with my parents and trainer, I made the executive decision to withdraw from my university in order to pursue my riding career.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I said education was important and it still is. I take online classes but am not in any rush to pursue any intense major to graduate in a certain time frame. My dad is training me to be able to run our family business of buying and selling airplanes at NRP Aviation Consultants LLC as well as working as a working student for my trainer to gain all the knowledge and experience of horses that I will inevitably need in the future. Not to mention, I had applied to be a PassioneQ Ambassador only a few months later on a whim, and ended up being selected. If that’s not a sign I made the right decision, I
don’t know what is!

The point of this article is show every equestrian out there that this can be a career path. People get so caught up in the idea that they either need to attend an equestrian school or strive for a job that will make them a lot of money in order to make this sport work. Well, I am here to tell everyone that is wrong. I come from a small suburban town in Ohio where a future like this only receives laughs and jousts. I want to buy and sell horses, and I want to train to be able to compete in the national hunter derby’s and Grand Prix’s. No one should have to give up their dream based on other people’s perception of it.

My lack of time management skills throughout school was not because I was too busy. It was because my passion was with the horses and not in the books. School is certainly not for everyone and did not make me happy. I will admit that the horse world operates in it’s own bubble, but it definitely possible to form any type of career within it if someone is willing. I am incredibly fortunate to have such amazing support from my parents and especially my trainer, who bends
over backwards to help me. One of my favorite quotes derived from Latin says, “Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam”, which means “Either I Will Find A Way or Make One”. No matter what happens, there will always be a ways to make your dreams and ideas come to life. As long as you have the determination to make it happen, it will.

 

Written by: Nicole Proud

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